New Delhi: Taking on the critics of his proposal to rechristen Akbar Road as Maharana Pratap Road, Union Minister V K Singh has said the country has to decide if it has to be proud of those who "enslaved" it or those who fought the enslavers.
Though the government has virtually rejected his recommendation, he has written a long Facebook post saying the country has to discard "divide and rule" and "appeasement" policies if it has to move forward.
Drawing a parallel between Mughal kings and the British, he said the latter ruled India like the Muslim kingdom and took a dig at his detractors, saying memorials should be built for Robert Clive and Lord Dalhousie as well going by their logic.
"After I batted for Maharana Pratap, I received a big shock... Our self-proclaimed intellectuals said Akbar is a big name in our history and we should not speak against him.
"...We will have to decide that who we should be proud of; those who enslaved us or those who fought them. We do not want to give importance to Begum Hazrat Mahal, ignore the pathan general of Maharana Pratap and do not name our prominent roads after the great martyr Bhagat Singh," the former Army chief said.
Calling Maharana Pratap a great soul, Singh said he united 36 communities "but the history hailed (Akbar) as a great man. He killed 25,000 people, including women, children and the elderly in Mewar."
He also said people feel hesitant in paying homage to those who laid down their lives for the nation and its people as it may hurt the feelings of some fake patriots.
"I want to say this if we are giving so much importance to Mughals, then by this logic we should build memorials for Robert Clive and Lord Dalhousie too as they were very talented administrators who ruled us in the same way as the Mughals," Singh said.
Singh also rejected the assertion of many historians that Akbar along with Ashok were two "great" kings, saying Akbar was called so because his name literally meant great.
If people continue to give importance to those who enslaved them, then our "slave mentality" will never disappear, he said.
If the country has to move forward, then it will have to adopt policies that take it ahead instead of letting it stuck in the rut where it has been for the last 60 years, he said.
Singh had last month written a letter to Urban Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, asking him to name Akbar Road after Maharana Pratap.
With his proposal inviting sharp reactions from opposition, Naidu said it was not on the government's agenda.